Forget Tokyo’s Robot Cafe; Kyoto has Roberoids!

GEAR Show in Kyoto
GEAR Show in Kyoto — Circus arts at their best

You’ve probably heard the hype about the Tokyo Robot Cafe, but did you know that Kyoto has real life Roberoids?

The Roberoids are stars of the GEAR Show, running at Kyoto’s Art Complex 1928. 

These robots perform mime, magic, juggling, and break dancing.

Art Complex 1928, Kyoto
Art Complex 1928, Kyoto

Their skills are showcased in a non-verbal performance with a story line that pulls at the heartstrings.  The show is very entertaining with lots of incredible special effects.

The production values are amazing.  The technical wizardry reminded me of the Broadway production of the The Curious Case of the Dog in the Nighttime.

The GEAR show has been running for several years straight with a rotating cast.

The theatre is in a cool art deco building in downtown Kyoto.

Tickets are discounted if you order online in advance.  Also, you get a ticket discount any time during your birthday month.

But don’t take my word for it.  You can read all the rave reviews on TripAdvisor!


Los Angeles Union Station 75th Anniversary Celebration

Union Station 74th Anniversary CelebrationHistoric Union Station in Los Angeles is hosting a 75th birthday celebration in honor of the iconic art deco train station, which has been restored as a multi-modal transit center.

If I lived in Los Angeles, I’d head over to Union Station on May 3, 2014, for this free family event!

The celebration, sponsored by Metroin partnership with National Train Day, Amtrak and Metrolink will commemorate all things rail on Saturday, May 3, 10 am to 4 pm.

Los Angeles Union Station
Los Angeles Union Station

There will be dozens of exhibitors at the station, tours, entertainment on four stages, as well as free Metrolink rides, a guided bike tour, and discounts at museums, restaurants, and theaters in half a dozen nearby neighborhoods.

Events at Union Station

Events at the station will include:

  • Official ceremony to rededicate of the historic ticket concourse
  • Step aboard one-of-a-kind rail cars
  • Tour the Amtrak Exhibit Train
  • Self-guided architectural tours of Union Station’s architecture, embellishments and artworks
  • Watch model trains in action
  • Play in the Chuggington Kids Depot (a preschool television series)
Los Angeles Union Station
Los Angeles Union Station

Entertainment on Four Stages

There will be more than a dozen acts, from music to dance and children’s theater, performed on four stages throughout the station.  
Highlights include:

  • Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles, an all-female mariachi ensemble
  • Las Cafeteras, Afro-Mexican Son Jarocho, Hip Hop, Folk and Native American sounds
  • Big Jay McNeely & The Hollywood Combo, a Rhythm & Blues band
  • The Ladd McIntosh Big Band plays Swing, Two-Beat, Latin, Funk
  • Dr. Pinch and the Pinchtones perform WWII-era swing music
  • Cava, sounds of Afro-Cuban Son, Cumbia, Ska, Salsa and Funk
  • East Wind Lion Dance Troupe performing a traditional Chinese lion dance
  • Choo Choo Bob, railroad-themed music
  • Los Angeles Muses, a cappella harmonies from groups like the Andrews Sisters
  • Vocalist Jennifer Keith leads a quintet in jazz, American roots and pop music

Free Metrolink Rides and Neighborhood Discounts

Step outside the station for fun-filled activities in all directions.  See the full listing of rides and discounts online.


2014 Vintage Travel Poster Calendars

Hawaii Bound 2014 CalendarIt seems as if wall calendars are the last vestige of paper stationery items still in widespread use.

Last year we had a cockapoo wall calendar in honor of our beloved dog Mitzy.

This year we have the retro This is Paris wall calendar and a vintage postcard calendar published by the Art Deco Society of Washington.

I love graphics from the art deco and mid-century modern eras, especially the travel posters from the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s and 1950s.

There are a number of 2014 travel calendars that caught my eye this year.

Cavellini Italia 2014 Calendar

They mostly feature vintage travel posters of various travel destinations on my bucket list.

There’s nothing like a different poster every month to provide some inspiration for travel!

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Busting the Myths: New York City at Holiday Time

2013 Thanksgiving Day Parade
2013 Thanksgiving Day Parade

The holidays are the best time of the year to visit New York.  There’s extra energy in the city, and the holiday lights and decorations can be magical.  Not to mention the shopping!

We visited our family in New York over Thanksgiving — and took in the best of the holiday season.

Over the course of our visit, we managed to bust several pervasive myths about holiday time in New York City.

1.  You have to arrive at 6 a.m. to see the Thanksgiving Day parade

Everyone warned us that the parade route would be packed and if we wanted to get a spot we’d have to arrive very early.  We sauntered over to 6th avenue at 50th Street at 10 a.m. and had a great vantage point with Radio City Music Hall in the background.  We weren’t in the front row, but back where there was space to move around.

2.  The best shopping deals are on Black Friday

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Free Spielberg Films at the National Archives; Plus: Guastavino Vaulting

Steven Spielberg Film FestivalOne of the things I love best about living in Washington is easy access to cultural institutions — museums, embassies, parks, monuments, and libraries — all of which offer a plethora of free programs.In many Smithsonian museums and government buildings, there are beautiful auditoriums that present concerts, lectures, and film — often free to the public.

The William G. McGowen Theater, deep inside the National Archives building on Constitution Ave., is a leading venue for the screening of documentary films.

This coming weekend, the National Archives will screen a number of Steven Spielberg films in a mini film festival honoring the director’s work, that runs November 15-18, 2013.  This free, public film festival will showcase four of Spielberg’s critically acclaimed films.

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